Predicting the runback threshold for liquid drops in aerodynamic boundary layers is a challenging problem with numerous applications including aircraft icing simulations. The critical parameters that govern drop runback are investigated in this experiment by using a wind tunnel that provides a turbulent accelerated flow similar to flows near an unswept wing’s leading edge. The experiments feature water drops on aluminum with a contact angle of 70±5deg. Results show that significant water∕air interface unsteadiness precedes drop runback. This is likely due to air-flow separation in the drop wakes. For displacement-thickness-scaled Reynolds numbers ranging from 348 to 429, a constant-Weber-number runback threshold We=3.45±0.09 is found to adequately correlate the runback results.

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